The winter is the prime time to target redfish in the inshore backcountry near Crystal River. The complex network of creeks, deep holes, springs, and shallow saltwater ponds provide the perfect environment for redfish and baitfish to find warmer water in the cooler months.
Navigating these backwater areas requires a shallow drafting boat. The extremely low winter tides can provide a challenge in reaching the fish. But once you do reach the backcountry, you can find hungry redfish and other species stacked in deeper holes, or warming up on shallow mud flats or in water fed by nearby springs.
When the conditions are ideal, most casts can result in being hooked up on a fish. Given the navigational challenges, we often have areas all to ourselves.
With the lower water in the winter months, it is often also possible to sight fish redfish more easily this time of year. We often see large redfish slowly cruising the flats or creeks looking for an easy meal. With the right bait and a good cast, you could experience the rush of watching a large fish attack your bait… fish on!
Depending on conditions we may use live bait or artificial lures to land redfish. Live bait is often the most effective technique when the water is cold and fish are more lethargic, conserving energy for the best meals. We rig up a shrimp, mud minnow, or pinfish to cast to the areas where fish stack up providing them the easy meal they are looking for.
In some conditions, such as when repeated casting is needed to cover more area, artificial lures are the best for the job. Soft plastics, such as paddle tails, rigged on a jig head or slow suspending twitch baits can be cast further, more frequently, and worked more effectively to search an area to locate the feeding fish.
As weather patterns change fish will move throughout our area. Warm sunny days may find hungry energetic fish aggressively feeding in large saltwater pools, whereas colder days will push the fish into the warmest water they can find and change their feeding behavior. Capt Casey Russell understands the patterns that redfish follow and what baits or lures will be the best to get you hooked up on any given winter day. Booking a winter trip can provide action-packed fishing in unpressured waters, let’s go fishing!